Maharashtra revenue minister Chandrakant Patil today said that beneficiaries of the farm loan waiver scheme may have to submit an affidavit stating that agriculture is their sole source of income. Government has constituted a committee to finalise the criteria for loan waiver, and the committee may recommend that making such a declaration should be mandatory, he said. “There were some instances of people having other sources of income benefiting from previous loan waiver schemes. We want to prevent this,” Patil said, speaking to reporters in Mumbai. “The affidavit may also have details such as other earning members of the family and their sources of income, assets, vehicles owned by the family, etc.,” he said. When asked if the state was taking any steps to give immediate relief to farmers, the minister said, “We have asked the district central cooperative banks and public sector banks to provide up to Rs 10,000 to small and marginal farmers who would need the money to buy seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.” Maharashtra government on Sunday in-principle approved a loan waiver scheme for farmers in the state who had been agitating since June 1. Meanwhile, Patil also said that he met the NCP president Sharad Pawar and state Congress chief Ashok Chavan regarding the loan waiver scheme yesterday. He has sought appointment with the BJP ally and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray — who had been lashing out at the government demanding a “complete loan waiver” — tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray today warned ally BJP that his party would take a “big step” if the loan waiver for farmers announced by the Maharashtra government is not implemented by next month. Terming the announcement of a complete loan waiver as a victory of farmers’ unity, he said, “Our demand is very clear. We want their loans to be written off completely,” he said. Speaking to reporters here, after meeting farmers from across the state, including Puntamba village, Uddhav said, “I would like to thank the farmers. We have heard of a green revolution but the farmers of Maharashtra have shown that those who can bring about a green revolution can also cause a revolution.” “I don’t believe in the word ‘karz mafi’ it should be called as ‘karz mukti’. ‘Mafi’ is given to those who have committed a crime. Farmers have not committed any crime but have brought about a revolution,” the Sena chief said. Uddhav said, “I congratulate the Maharashtra government. This is a moment to be celebrated, but most importantly, fast implementation of the announcement is necessary.” “Loan waiver has been announced now. We will be patient enough to wait now and give the government time until July to implement its announcement. If they do not do so, a big step will be taken next month,” he said.
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Meanwhile, a farmer who was present at the event said they met the Sena president to thank him for his support to their stir. “His support forced the government to give us a loan waiver. We give full credit to Uddhav ji and the Shiv Sena,” he said. Earlier in the day, the Shiv Sena had said the loan waiver decision was due to its constant “throttling” of the Maharashtra government and the party has opted to remain in power to shake the chair of “lazy” persons. Farmers in Maharashtra, who had been on a war path from June 1 to press for their various demands, had on June 11 called off their stir after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced loan waiver for them.